Mistakenly baking for the judges

Paul Hollywood gives a contestant's explanation side-eye.
Nobody wants to see this face while they’re talking about what they’re doing.

My kids get picky about food at dinnertime. It’s gotten to the point where I’ve hit a slump with a rotation of the few things that they normally will eat, or just grabbing some carry out/dining out.

When Dena tested positive for COVID right before Christmas, I went into meal planning mode. Instead of going with the same old options, I went for things that would help Dena feel better, and things that I felt I could cook well.

The shocking thing? The true Christmas miracle? The kids liked almost all of it.

Instead of trying to adjust things for them or make concessions and tweak recipes, I just did things to spec.

On cooking shows, one thing that often gets a ding from the judges is when somebody tones down their flavors or their spices. They worry the judges can’t handle what they like, and the judges almost always ask them why they did that.

Maybe the error I’ve been making is trying to guess what the kids want instead of just offering up something Dena and I want and hoping our enthusiasm is contagious.

Maybe there’s a broader lesson here about creative work and trying to second guess your audience instead of being true to your flavors.

I’ll think on that. But mostly I’m glad I had a few days of enjoying cooking again, and want to see if I can keep that going.